Heart Failure

University of Iowa Heart and Vascular Center specialists are experts in managing every type of heart failure and their underlying causes. We treat conditions that include heart failure, systolic heart failure or diastolic heart failure, and right-sided heart failure.

Heart failure can seem like an alarming diagnosis, but treatments are evolving and improving quickly. We offer the latest therapies, procedures, and technology—and we’re at the forefront of research to find new treatment options.

Our goal is to slow the progression of your disease and improve your quality of life. Treatments can help reduce symptoms such as fluid retention, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Our goal is to help you stay out of the hospital and allow you to get back to the activities you love.

Our heart failure program is the most comprehensive in Iowa. If your heart failure is advanced and not responding to medical management, we’re the only system in the state that offers heart transplantation.

The right care for heart failure can help you live a longer, fuller life.

A team of experts on your side

No matter what’s causing your heart failure, you’ll have a team of dedicated specialists and a treatment plan customized for you.

Over and over, we hear from our heart failure patients that they’re impressed by the scope and expertise of their care team.

  • Cardiologists lead your diagnostic testing and the development of your treatment plan.
  • Heart surgeons evaluate you for surgical therapies, such as LVAD or heart transplant.
  • Electrophysiologists specialize in regulating your heart rhythm.
  • Nurse coordinators help with your initial evaluation and coordinate your care. They also monitor your symptoms and help you learn how to manage your heart failure.
  • A pharmacist who specializes in heart failure reviews your medications. They monitor you closely for side effects or drug interactions.
  • Palliative care specialists help manage your symptoms so you have the best possible quality of life.
  • Social workers can help you deal with the emotional impact of heart failure. They also work with you on setting and meeting your goals for care.
  • Dietitians help you make lasting lifestyle changes like cutting the amount of salt in your diet.

Your team follows you closely to make sure you’re getting the best results. They’re always available to talk about your treatment and answer questions.

The most comprehensive range of heart failure treatments

We’re the only hospital in the state offering heart transplants and serve advanced heart failure patients from Iowa and western Illinois.

And as an academic medical center, we offer the newest treatments for heart failure, including treatments pioneered by our doctors.

Our researchers are working on a variety of new diagnostic tools and new therapies. You may be eligible for clinical trials that represent the next breakthrough in ways to predict, diagnose, and treat heart failure.

How we diagnose and treat heart failure

The earlier your heart failure is diagnosed, the better the odds of slowing down its progression.

We diagnose heart failure using tests that include:

  • Blood tests
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Cardiac MRI
  • Chest X-rays
  • Echocardiogram
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)
  • Exercise stress test

If your heart failure is in an early stage, your treatment plan might focus on diet and exercise, medications, and monitoring. Your team will work closely with you to create your plan and help you follow it.

Some of the underlying conditions that cause heart failure or make it worse are treatable with procedures or devices, including:

There are two surgical options for treating end-stage heart failure:

Top heart failure program in U.S.

Our heart failure program is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best places in the country for patient care. Only the best hospitals nationally received this rating based on patient outcomes, number of patients seen, advanced heart programs, and more. 

Heart failure tests and treatments

Heart failure conditions treated

Need a heart failure specialist?

Has your doctor referred you for a consultation about your heart failure? We can connect you with a heart specialist to get the process started.

Care Team